Month: September 2018

Getting Rid of Clutter

While sitting poolside with a friend one afternoon, we both lamented about how much stuff clutters our lives. It creates stress because we are always in the maintenance mode of all that we possess. Even the best neatnik most likely has a few magazines she still hopes to have time to read, or has some clothing she thinks she may still fit into.

I had a wake-up moment earlier in the year when I needed to have a clean space to finish writing my second book in a timely manner. No longer could I write two paragraphs and then be distracted by the pile on my desk. There were coupons I wanted to cut, articles I wanted to read, unopened mail, a jacket that needed a button sewn back on, some miscellaneous earrings that had no mate, a box for recycled paper and so on. My desk had become a catch-all for things yet to do.


As I cleaned off the desk, it made the surrounding area look messy. So I attacked the futon next. I stored all of the extra blankets, put away the laundry and fluffed the pillows. But next to the futon was a plastic bin filled with who knows what! The point is that I went around and around that office space cleaning area by area. In the end, I just put a bunch of stuff back into the bin and onto my desk.


When in doubt, throw out! When I realized that I was just shuffling stuff from one box to the next, or one zone to the other, I knew I had a problem. It was my burning desire to finish writing my book that became the catalyst for change. As I looked at expired coupons, old newspapers, earrings I would never find the match to, and more, I asked myself a simple question, “Is this getting me closer to finishing the book?” If not, I reluctantly put it in the garbage or the recycle bin.

As my room got cleaner and less cluttered, so did my mind. As the room looked more spacious, my creativity had space to grow. The best part of this story is that I finished my manuscript ahead of my schedule and am anxiously awaiting the last proof from the designer. What shall I do while I am waiting? Perhaps declutter the next room.


When A Spouse Steps Up

Don’t you hate doing weird or uncomfortable things? It is often difficult to step outside of our comfort zone or do a task that seems independent of our typical roles. Recently I spoke with my husband about an upcoming event where I will have to look my best for four days straight. I discussed the budget I had set aside for the event, and how I may be coming up a bit short yet wanted to get the most out of this conference.

I have been purchasing clearance rack dresses and shoes and continuing to save money by coloring my own hair (damn those grey roots). But honestly, I really wish I could justify spending money on my hands and feet. I asked if he would give me a pedicure. Every time I paint my toenails, half of the polish gets on the surrounding skin. I am at a bad angle to do a decent job.


He was unenthusiastic and had no idea why I could not just throw some polish on my self. “Aww, come on, just try. If it looks bad, I still have a month to save up for a professional pedi” I begged. So, he stepped up and did a practice run on my toes. It actually became a fun event, and I felt like we now had another opportunity to just be together and enjoy caring for the other person.

While basking in the relaxing care of my feet being pampered, I was reminded of all of the Bible verses about washing feet and anointing with oil. John 13:14 says “If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet.” Okay, so he wasn’t washing them but more adorning them. Still, it may have been humbling for him to touch a part of my body that otherwise gets ignored. The small sacrifice did not go unnoticed. I was humbled too and began thinking of ways that I can step up too. Although he does not need his toes painted, I began thinking about some things he would appreciate; not all of them “G” rated!


Ask yourself if there are ways you can step up in your relationship that will bless the other person. Don’t expect it to always be even-Steven. That should not be your motive in any way. Simply step it up because you can, because you know it is the right thing to do and because you want to continue to love and appreciate your partner in new and exciting ways.



Planting Seeds

When my children were young, I loved teaching them about nature as I planted my yearly garden. Although none of us particularly like the taste of hot radishes, I always made sure I grew a few rows, as they would germinate in less than two weeks if the soil was porous. This gave eager little ones a sense of wonder and they would not have to wait too long to see how the earth coaxes life from it. Remember, when you are six years old, even an hour can feel like an eternity.


Most plants I grow take about three weeks to germinate,  but germination is only the beginning. With corn, it can take up to 100 days before you can eat the delectable, yellow ear. You want blueberries? You had better have patience. Once you plant a bush in your yard it may take three to four years before the bush produces fruit.

Are our careers and relationships like that? Do some germinate and grow with ease while others take patience and much cultivation? I certainly think so. As I walk this road of life, I added another path called “author” to my journey. The germination process was slow at first as I navigated through writing, editing, marketing, and praying that someone would be touched by my stories. Now it seems that some of the more dormant seeds are beginning to sprout, largely because of people like you who read and share my stories and occasional rants.


Recently I became a finalist in the Author Academy Awards for the first book I wrote. Continued votes, book reviews, and prayers will be needed to get to that elusive grand prize which will be determined later in the month. I will be judged (along with the others in my category) based on a 90-second speaking spot I have in front of a crowd. Will I be the hot radish that grows quickly then burns in the sun or will I be the blueberry, taking its time to bear sweet and abundant fruit year after year?

No matter the outcome of this particular contest, I have planted the seeds of perseverance, determination, courage, and trust that I will continue to write stories meant to inspire, motivate and help others on their paths as well.

If you would like to place a vote for Stronger Than Broken – One couple’s decision to move through an affair you may go to and click on the book cover in the General Fiction Category.

In November of 2018, I will release Letters to the Dead Men – Unexpected Revelations and will enter that book for the 2019 awards, in the Self Help Category. Blessings to those of you who continue to make me want to write.


Finding balance in life, relationships, finances, fitness level, and your work life is like the air we breathe. We need it! I seem perfectly happy to spend my days off at my own home reading a book, finishing a project, or weeding the garden. There is a serenity or a joy that comes from being a good steward of all that God has provided me with.


But, my husband seeks adventure and when he had a few days off he and I planned a trip to the mountains of Pennsylvania. Until I drove up the first hill off of the freeway, I had no idea how much I needed to get away from home. The simple change of scenery was wonderful, but it stretched so much farther than seeing a couple of Appalachian Mountains.

We spent four days without much internet. We checked only minimally on the things of fast-paced life. Instead, we rode our bikes on a trail, played in natural water slides that rolled right out of the Laurel Highlands, cooked steaks on an open fire, heard live bluegrass bands, hiked up a trail to see a gorgeous waterfall, and got plenty of  Vitamin D basking on hot rocks near the cold white water of the Youghiogheny. He also did white water kayaking while I read and learned how to just be still.

Is it time for you too to find balance somewhere? If you are like me, it will be difficult at first to slow down and not have “to-do” lists racing through your mind. You may not even remember how to relax if it has been a long time for you. What I can promise you, is that when you just let go and try to clear your head of obligations, you may hear God speaking. He always gives me inspiration and a new sense of purpose when I am still.


Psalm 62:1 “In God alone my soul finds rest; my salvation comes from Him.”